I’m in the process of trying to set up a new aquarium, and I want to make sure the fish I add in will live together happily.
To make sure I won’t put in a bunch of fish only for them to tear each other fin from fin, I did some research. In this post, I’ll be sharing whether tetras and guppies can live together and some areas you need to pay attention to.
Can Tetras and Guppies live together? Yes. Tetras and Guppies can live happily together so long as a few conditions are met:
- They are provided with a proper schoal/school
- You don’t overpopulate your tank.
- Guppy fry are protected, if your intention is to breed
- You feed them properly
- You maintain water quality and tank hygiene
Tetras and Guppies Need Friends
Tetras and Guppies are both considered schooling and shoaling fish.
Shoaling refers to fish who desire to remain in a social group of their own species. Schooling adds a synchronization to swim patterns among a group of fish that are shoaling.
Both Tetras and guppies thrive in Shoaling and Schooling environments, so it’s important that they both have a group of friends within their species living with them.
So, what’s the minimum number of tetras and guppies you should stock?
The smallest school of tetra you should keep in one tank is 6. Preferably more.
Be careful here:
This number is for each type of tetra. For example: 6 neon tetra would be fine. 3 Cardinal and 3 x-ray tetra would not.
Try to have at least 3 guppies, but there is one more consideration:
Unlike the Tetra, the number of Guppies in one tank is usually factored by gender. For every female, you should also have two males.
Guppies are very active and the males love to have a female companion to chase and impress.
Fish need plenty of room within their aquariums, so it’s important to always factor in the size of the tank required, prior to purchasing your fish.
The common rule of thumb is that for every 1 inch of fish, there should be a gallon of water in your aquarium.
(Don’t know the volume of your tank? Try this Aquarium calculator here. )
At the minimum levels of 6 tetras and 3 guppies, you’ll probably consider a 20-gallon tank to be on the safe side when combining both tetras and guppies in one home.
Tetras and guppies will both breed happily.
You should always try to under-stock your tank so that you won’t have issues if a few extra fish show up.
Sharing the Same Food
Tetras and Guppies will actually eat the same type of food, so you won’t have to be concerned with their diets in a shared environment. Some foods you might consider for Tetras and Guppies are:
- Flake – The simplest food to obtain at any pet store, flake food is a popular choice for guppies and tetras. Make sure to purchase a tropical fish version of flake food for the best results. It’s also helpful to include other foods besides flakes to assure a balanced diet and nutrition.
- Vegetables – Did you know, Guppies and tetras love boiled zucchini? Squash, cucumbers, lima beans, peas, broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce are also great additions to their diets. Here’s a guide on how to properly prepare and feed vegetables for your fish.
- Live – Tetra and Guppies love live foods, but they come with the added disadvantage of carrying possible diseases. A common live food that you can choose that has a lower risk of disease are brine ship, guppies and tetras love them!
- Freeze-Dried – Freeze Dried live food is actually a great way to avoid the dangers of disease that fresh live food poses.
Protect the Guppy Fry
Guppies are known for being prodigious breeders.
They breed very easily and their offspring are typically pretty strong and healthy.
Fish love to eat other fish. They’ll eat their own offspring, another fish’s offspring, or just any other fish that fits in their mouth.
If you don’t want a bunch of extra fish popping up in your tank, this is not a problem.
If you want to breed fish, however, you need to take steps to protect the babies:
Move the Pregnant Guppy to a Breeder Tank
There are tanks called floating breeder tanks (Amazon Link) that help to ensure the survival of the young fish.
These tanks are designed with a divider in the center of the tank with small holes for the guppy fry to fall down into after birth. This divider keeps them separate from their mother and out of harm’s way.
This option is more suitable for those who are monitoring their guppies for pregnancy.
If you know how long your female Guppy has been pregnant, you’ll know when it’s best to move her to the breeder tank.
If you aren’t closely monitoring your female guppies and can’t be sure if they are pregnant, this is probably not the best option.
Make Hiding Spots
If you think you won’t be able to move your fish into a breeder before she gives birth, you should provide hiding spots for the babies.
You can do this by densely planting real or fake plants and decorations in your tank. The babies will hide from the adult fish in the plants, and they’ll have a larger chance of survival.
You should also maintain a strict feeding schedule daily to assure all other fish are being properly fed and are not going hungry. If your fish are hungry, they will seek out and eat the guppy fry.
If you choose to take this route, you shouldn’t be surprised if it’s not always successful. Some if not all, are likely to die.
You could also use a fish net to catch the fry in the tank after birth and move them to another aquarium where they can grow and thrive before moving them back in with the other guppy and tetra community.
Watch for Common Diseases
Guppies most commonly get fungal infections and Ich.
You can tell your Guppy has Ich if you can see white dots on their skin and they appear to be rubbing against objects in the tank.
Most pet stores will sell medications to get rid of Ich. If left untreated Ich will spread like wildfire through your aquarium community, so make sure to keep an eye out for your small friends!
Some of the best ways to avoid Ich:
- Buy a suitable filter that keeps the water clean and flowing.
- Regularly change out the water.
- Assure stress levels among your fish are low, if they appear to be hiding in the tank more often than swimming around freely, they are likely stressed and prone to disease.
- Provide a balanced and varied diet of flakes, live food, or even vegetables.
- Don’t overcrowd the fish tank with too many fish, always calculate the proper amount of fish to gallon ratio.
How to Tell if Your Tetra or Guppies are Developing Illness
Some signs of disease in your community of Guppy and Tetra fish might include:
- The fish appearing to be restless
- Their colors seem to be fading or less vibrant
- You begin to notice lumps among their body
- Their swimming seems a bit off or they are not participating in schooling with the other fish
- The spine may begin to look curved
- You may notice bloating or fin rot
Adding More Species to Your Tank
There are a few other varieties of fish that will live well with Guppies and Tetras. You might consider the following fish to add into your community:
- Small Cichlids
- Plecos and Ottos
- Cory Catfish
You’ll want to be wary of adding larger fish to your tank as it’s possible they could try and eat your Tetra or Guppies. Some fish to avoid are angelfish and tiger barbs.
Overall, it’s not that difficult to keep tetras and guppies together.
Keep them in the right numbers, feed them properly, and give them places to hide, and you should have a thriving community tank before you know it!